Q&A: What does the travel green list mean for me? 

We answer your questions about insurance, airlines and more
Q&A: What does the travel green list mean for me? 
Passengers at a very empty Cork Airport.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

What countries are on the Green List?

Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco, and San Marino.

Why are these destinations on the list?

They are deemed to be low risk because of the number of positive tests per 100,000 population over the last 14 day period.

Countries on the list are supposed to be mostly European countries that have the same or better rate than Ireland, which was around 4.9 when the list was drawn up.

However, as of yesterday - the day after the list was published - Ireland’s rate appears to have increased from around 4.9 to 5.6.

The country with the nearest rate to Ireland is Slovakia, with a rate of 4.6.

The country with one of the lowest rates is Malta, at 0.8.

However, it should be noted that at least seven of the countries on the list recorded new cases in the last two weeks.

Italy recorded the highest number, with 2,796 cases as of July 22, and Greece recorded 459 new cases.

No new cases have been recorded in Greenland, just one in Gibraltar and four in Malta.

This green list is good news for the airlines, right?

No, not really.

Of the countries on the list, Aer Lingus currently only operates flights into Italy.

The airline believes the green list is more restrictive than in any country in Europe. Ireland now "stands alone in Europe in applying this policy" while the rest of Europe has opened for travel.

Of the countries on the list, Aer Lingus only operates into Italy, while Ryanair described the list as "absurd and idiotic"Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Of the countries on the list, Aer Lingus only operates into Italy, while Ryanair described the list as "absurd and idiotic"Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The airline claims the list means Ireland is "closed for business" and this will have profoundly negative impacts on the economy, aviation and tourism.

Ryanair is far more blunt in its assessment of the list, describing it as "bonkers", "absurd and idiotic".

Can I fly to these destinations?

Ireland has no direct flights to Gibraltar, Monaco, San Marino or Greenland.

These countries can only be accessed by flying through Spain, Italy, France or Denmark, none of which are on Ireland's green list.

Simon Coveney, foreign affairs minister, said they consulted with the World Health Organisation which said they do not "have a significant concern with transit airports", though.

Of the countries on the list, Italy is the most popular with holidaymakers. However, it has an open border with France so the exclusion of France from the list is "pointless", according to Ryanair.

Many of the other destinations have limited connectivity from Ireland at present. 

Where do I stand with insurance?

On shaky ground.

If your policy was taken out before Covid-19 struck, there is a good chance you are covered.

But, regardless of the publication of the green list, the Department of Foreign Affairs is cautioning against travel which, experts say, means it is unlikely people will get travel insurance.

According to Ian Kennedy, head of marketing at Blue Insurance and Multitrip.com, the department's advice is still warning against "all non-essential travel".

It is, Mr Kennedy said, a "conflicting message that creates confusion for the public".

The department of foreign affairs still advises agains non-essential oversees travel. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
The department of foreign affairs still advises agains non-essential oversees travel. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Companies like Blue Insurance cover medical expenses, if the insured contracts Covid-19 whilst abroad, and cancellation as a result of a positive Covid-19 diagnosis.

But these policies vary across the board.

Essentially, people need to closely monitor the advice from the department and also check the position on cover with their travel insurance provider before they travel.

What is the current advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs about travelling abroad?

In a word - don't.

The department advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice.

This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland, it recommends people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

Anything else?

All passengers, no matter what country they are flying in from will still have to fill out a Passenger Locator Form to allow for contact tracing after their arrival.

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